NSAA a type of hand woven fabric


Nsaa [Symbol of quality]

Name/Theme: Nsaa/Quality, Durability

Proverb: Nea onim nsaa, na oto nea ago.

Literal Translation: He who knows nsaa is the one that even buys the weak and old one. (Glover, 1969)

Meaning: Nea onim means he who knows, nsaa refers to a cloth, na oto means who buys, nea ago means that which is weak. This proverb draws the significance of aiming at good quality and durability rather than quantity.

Background: Nsaa is a high quality blanket like cloth. It is intricately woven with tough and coarse camel hair. It was traded by the nomadic Fulani people. It is very expensive and therefore mostly bought by chiefs and wealthy people. It is used in covering the inside of a chief’s palanquin and the ‘black stools’. Because of its high quality and durability, people were willing to buy it, even the old and used ones. In the olden days, it was prestigious to possess an ‘nsaa’. This cloth is said to be full of interesting Arabic symbols among them are the two different symbols shown above representing the same name.

Moral Value: The proverb advices people to make quality and durability a hallmark, and avoid mediocrity in their productivity. It also encourages people to patronize high quality goods. This is a symbol of a taste for good quality and durability.

Originator: Papa Dwaben an indigene of Asante-Ntonso is believed to have adopted the symbol from a Muslim merchant (Nana Agya Bedu-2007 a Master Artisan at Ntonso). The year of its origination is unknown but it philosophy is believed to have been propounded during the reign of Nana Osei Bonsu I (1804-1823).

Extract from Cultural Symbolism in Asante Traditional Textiles by ABRAHAM EKOW ASMAH

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